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§ 95. “The Qualifications of a Senator.”

Until altered by the Parliament the qualifications of a senator, being the same as those of a member of the House of Representatives, will be as follows:—

  • (i.) He must be of the full age of 21 years.
  • (ii.) He must be an elector entitled to vote at elections of the House of Representatives, or qualified to become an elector.
  • (iii.) He must have been for three years at least a resident within the limits of the Commonwealth as existing at the time when he is chosen.
  • (iv.) He must be a subject of the Queen, either natural-born or for at least five years naturalized under a law of the United Kingdom, or of a colony which has become or becomes a State, or of the Commonwealth, or of a State.

In addition to these positive qualifications a senator must not be the subject of any of those disabilities enumerated in sections 44 and 45.




  ― 440 ―

The federal constitution having fixed the qualification of members of the Federal Legislature, no additional qualification can be added by the State Legislatures. (Barney v. McCreery, Cl. and H. [U.S.] 176; Turney v. Marshall, 1 Cong. El. Cas. [U.S.] 167; Trumbull's Case, id. 618.) The constitution of Illinois (1848) provided that the judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts of the States should not be eligible to any other office of public trust or profit in that state, or in the United States, during the term for which they should be elected, nor for one year thereafter. The Federal House of Representatives held this provision of the constitution of Illinois void. in so far as it applied to persons elected members of the said House. (Turney v. Marshall, supra; Trumbull's Case, supra. Baker, Annot. Const. p. 5.)

Returns from the State authorities, showing that a certain person has been elected senator, are prima facie evidence of qualification only. (Spaulding v. Mead, Cl. and Hall, 157; Reed v. Cosden. id. 353.) The refusal of the Executive of the State to grant a certificate does not prejudice the right of any person entitled to a seat. (Richards' Case, Cl. and Hall, 95; Baker, Annot. Const. pp. 10, 11.)

Election of President.

17. The Senate shall, before proceeding to the despatch of any other business, choose a senator to be the President 96 of the Senate; and as often as the office of President becomes vacant the Senate shall again choose a senator to be the President.

The President shall cease to hold his office if he ceases to be a senator. He may be removed from office by a vote of the Senate, or he may resign his office or his seat by writing addressed to the Governor-General.

UNITED STATES.—The Vice-President of the United States shall be President of the Senate.—Const. Art. I. sec. III. sub-sec. 4. CANADA.—The Governor-General may from time to time, by instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, appoint a Senator to be Speaker of the Senate, and may remove him and appoint another in his stead.—B.N.A. Act, 1867, sec. 34.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—The clause in the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 was substantially the same, with additional provisions that “The President shall preside at all meetings of the Senate; and the choice of the President shall be made known to the Governor-General by a deputation of the Senate.” In Committee, Sir John Bray moved to omit the words “by a deputation of the Senate,” but this was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1891, pp. 610-1.) At the Adelaide session, 1897, the clause of 1891 was adopted verbatim. At the Melbourne session, drafting amendments were made before the first report and after the fourth report.

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